When you’re given driving directions, you write them down so you don’t forget, right? When you receive instructions for assembly or your list of items for the grocery store, you write those down, too. For most of us, there is too much going on in our daily lives to focus on remembering what isn’t absolutely necessary to remember, and we must write down the rest. For the exerciser who is attempting to lose fat more consistently, the idea of tracking consumed calories is of great importance. Most of us feel like we know what we eat, but studies prove the opposite. In fact, most of us eat one and a half times to twice as much as we think. A study in The Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that individuals lose twice as much weight when they write down and track their meals in a food journal compared to when they don’t.
The only way to truly track calorie-intake is to write down every food you eat in a food journal. That includes recording the handful of nuts, the five peppermints, the small piece of birthday cake from the office party last week, etc…
Even a few weeks of tracking food in-take can help you see at-risk times of day when you are more susceptible to eating unhealthily. This will allow you to develop strategies to move you past those troublesome times and to cut out the bad stuff. It’s one thing to eat a cookie (when you’re trying to lose weight) but it’s another to actually make yourself write it down. In fact, a great strategy to avoid sweets is to write down the food you’re craving then wait ten minutes before eating it. Most times, you can more easily say no when you’re given time to see and really think about the decision.
A food journal ensures you don’t let your selective memory sabotage your goals for fat loss and lean muscle gain.